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Want a happy, lasting marriage?

Posted April 20

Long-lasting, happy marriages seem to almost be a thing of the past. Couples are seeking marriage later in life, if they choose to marry at all, partially because they fear a failed marriage. Why get married if it's doomed to fail?

One photographer, Stephanie Jarstad, went on a specific hunt to find out what these seasoned couples have in common in her project "To Grow Old With You." She takes pictures capturing small moments with older couples who have been married for decades.

"Our younger generation faces a lack of confidence in marriage... I really wanted to hear from seasoned couples, to find out what it takes to have a strong and lasting relationship," Jarstad said in a recent news story.

What makes these marriages last?

Laughter

You have to laugh at past arguments and mistakes you've made and at the daily little things. If you think back to arguments you've had, there's bound to be some humor in them. In the long run, most disagreements don't matter and if you can laugh at them, that's even better. It can diffuse a tense situation and make it easier to deal with what needs to be fixed. (But, make sure you're not laughing to be mean or mocking. That is NOT OK.)

Finding the joy in humor in daily life is beneficial, giving a release of emotions in a positive way. As the saying goes, "laughter is the best medicine." Couples who laugh together build a strong relationship together.

Work together

When you get married to the love of your life, you need to remember you're on the same team. You need to work together to run your household—that includes raising and caring for children, doing housework, earning money and finding solutions when problems arise. Often, this requires some degree of sacrifice of time or not doing things you'd rather do. Working together as a unified couple goes a long way to strengthen your marriage. Work together, not against each other.

Support each other in the face of adversity

Marriage, or life in general, is not free of challenges and trials. We can suffer job loss, the death of a loved one, declining health, financial struggles, addictions and other situations that can often test the strength of our marriage. If you can manage to stick together and work through problems as a solid unit, your marriage will emerge stronger than ever. It's not always easy. It's definitely not always fun, but it is possible. It is worth it. Encourage your spouse through an individual struggle and rely on each other to make it through hard times. Be understanding. Be compassionate. Show empathy.

Marriages of fifty-plus years don't just happen. Longevity like that happens intentionally. The husband and wife have to work together, laugh often and support each other continually. Things will be hard from time to time, maybe even make you wonder if it's worth it. But, if you maintain the same goal and stay unified, you'll make it through, inspiring a legacy of love and strong marriages in your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Wendy Jessen is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and frequently does media reviews. She blogs at mormonmomofsix.blogspot.com. Twitter: @WendyJessen Email: wendyjessen26@gmail.com

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